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Compelling Look at the Chicago Mob After Capone
on September 18, 2002
"The Outfit" is a well written, thoroughly comprehensive look at the post-Capone history of organized crime in the city of Chicago. Gus Russo does an excellent job of leaving no stone unturned as he chronicles the Outfit's activity from the jailing of Capone to its decline in the 90s. Along the way we meet the gangsters who made the Chicago mob rich and famous: Tony "Joe Batters" Accardo, Paul "the Waiter" Ricca, "Curly" Humphries, Johnny Roselli,Jake "Greasy Thumb" Guzik, and Sam "Mooney" Giancana. Russo discusses the role of each in making the Chicago Syndicate the power it was in the world of organized crime.
Russo's breezy style makes "The Outfit" an absolute joy to read, deftly mixing facts and ancedotes like a master chef. Read about the takeover of IATSE, the Hollywood union, and the infiltration of the mob into the world of the Hollywood studios; the Mob's entry and takeover of Las Vegas; the infiltration into the Teamsters and the scheming of the Outfit to fix the 1960 presidential election and what happened when they were doublecrossed. It was by no means a smooth ride - along the way Russo details the eforts of law enforcement to balance the books, so to speak, with the result that the Outfit always had to keep scheming, keep looking, for new rackets and businesses to infiltrate. Russo keeps the pages turning with a compelling style that makes the book's 550 pages seem like 100 when you hit the end.
Few books even attempt to cover the history of the Chicago Mob after Al Capone left the scene. Fewer still are this enjoyuable. A must for crime historians and those just interested in a good book.